By Grace Nicholls, Learning Consultant at Antser
At Antser Learning, we provide a range of safeguarding and child protection training for social workers, occupational therapists, social care practitioners, provider services and partner agencies such as the education and health sectors.
We are proud to say that we were one of the first companies operating in our sector to be able to offer our full suite of training via online platforms within a month of lockdown. Over the past year, we have delivered circa 250 courses, in turn supporting over 4,000 professionals who have been able to use the skills learnt in our training to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and adults.
For us, COVID-19 posed a huge challenge when it came to training delivery – undoubtedly, training was the most affected part of our business. At the point when lockdown was first imposed, our programme was only offered face-to-face. As the professionals we work with are on the front line in supporting children, young people and vulnerable adults, it was imperative for us to find a way to continue to provide training and support, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
In addition, looking back a year ago, we had no idea of the impact the pandemic was going to have on vulnerable people, but we could predict it would put more pressure on households, parents and families as a whole.
The closure of schools, children’s centres and a reduction in GP and hospital appointments – places where possible cases of neglect and abuse would usually be flagged – raised serious concerns over society’s ‘invisible’ children.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic began, there were nearly 2.2m children in England living in households affected by domestic abuse, parental drug and alcohol dependency and severe parental mental health issues. While the past year has witnessed an increase in many of these issues, research by the Office for the Children’s Commissioner in England found that referrals to council children’s services dropped by 10 percent between the end of April and November 2020.
However, as organisations continued to adapt and carry on with business as usual amidst the uncertainty and challenges brought about by the pandemic, training was inevitably one of the first things to potentially be pushed to the bottom of the priority list.
Like many others at this point, no one had really extensively used Zoom or Teams, or even considered delivery of training through a virtual platform. Despite this, we committed to ensuring our training was accessible from the comfort of people’s homes and at a reduced cost. Our dedicated team set about adapting our content to create a flexible solution that could do just that.
Working alongside our pool of specialist associates, we were able to adapt our content to make sure it could be suitably condensed for virtual delivery, but was still valuable and powerful, while ensuring it remained engaging and interactive.
During the past year, we have continued to update our training and include relevant statistics on the impact of Covid-19, as well as content and practical tips on how to manage the transition out of the pandemic.
In addition, we have used this time to reflect on our current offering. We have been working with our specialist associates to create our pioneering virtual reality (VR) enabled training courses, which are now available to book. Our courses are built on VR clips used as case studies, which follow the lives of three characters from pre-birth to adolescence. The courses give attendees the chance to see real situations through the eyes of a child.
As we move out of the pandemic and into a more ‘normal’ world, we will ensure we are still able to cater to the needs of those who are working from home. We will remain flexible with the delivery of our courses to ensure we continue to support those working on the front line in helping to improve outcomes for children, young people and vulnerable adults.
Find out more about our range of courses available here.